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About Cleft Palate Birth Defects - What Can Cause?

Mar 1, 2012

An orofacial cleft occurs when parts of the lip or palate do not completely fuse together during the first 3 months of pregnancy. A cleft lip may appear as a small notch in the edge of the lip only or extend into the nose. It may also extend into the gums.

A cleft palate may also vary in size, from a defect of the soft palate only to a complete cleft that extends through the hard palate. Because the lips and the palate develop separately, it is possible for a child to be born with a cleft lip only, cleft palate only, or both.

Contact Peterson & Associates, P.C. for a FREE Birth Defect Legal Consultation.

For the most part, because a cleft lip is visible it is often easier to identify than a cleft palate alone. A cleft lip may be detected through prenatal ultrasound; however, diagnosing a cleft palate this way is more difficult and it might not be seen.

Even if a cleft condition is detected during pregnancy, the diagnosis and extent of cleft lip and palate is confirmed by physical examination after the birth of the child.

Sometimes a cleft may be associated with environmental factors such as a woman's use of certain medications while pregnant.

In recent studies, researchers have discovered that the use of prescription drugs such as Antidepressants & Anti-Seizure medications taken during pregnancy may cause Cleft Lip and other birth defects. Fifty percent of the women taking the medications were not notified that the drugs they were taking put their baby at risk for birth defects.

If your child was born with a Cleft Lip or other birth defect, a medication such as Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Topamax or Depakote may be to blame.

Contact Peterson & Associates, P.C. for a FREE Birth Defect Legal Consultation.

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